String Sextet

Peter Schickele

Duration: 00:26:00
Publisher: Elkan-Vogel, Inc.
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

A lot of chamber music playing went on in Fargo, North Dakota during my teenage years. The participants included both high school friend ? my brother, who plays viola, was an is an inveterate chamber music player ? and members of parents? generation. The latter included not only professional musicians (the conductor of the Fargo-Moorhead Community Orchestra, who also played cello and was my first composition teacher, his wife, who was the orchestra?s concert mistress, and others) but also people from various other walks of life. Although I don?t play a string instrument, I was almost always in attendance, with score in hand. (One summer, all the young cellists we played with went to the Interlochen Music Camp, so I got to play the cello parts on the bassoon.)

Mostly it was string quartets that were played, but one of the larger pieces I remember being done more than once was the Brahms Sextet in G Major, and I think that the idea for utilizing that combination had been lurking in the back of my mind since then. In the middle 1980?s, ideas for a string sextet began appearing in my sketchbooks; one movement (the fourth) was actually completed in one of the sketchbooks. But without a deadline, it?s hard for me to finish a major work, since there are always other pieces (with deadlines) waiting to be completed. So when the Composers Showcase at Lincoln Center asked me to put together a retrospective of my work, I knew I wanted to have a premiere on the program, and May 7, 1990 became the deadline that I got the piece done.

The work is in six movements, with a symmetrical key pattern; the movements range from the very dramatic to the very easy-going.

I had contacted the Lark Quartet, who had commissioned my String Quartet No.2, about forming the core of the sextet. Unfortunately, one of the Larks had a scheduling conflict, but the other three rounded up three more players, and the six of them gave the piece a rousing performance, in spite of the limited rehearsal time. The players were Eva Gruesser, Genovia Cummins, Anna Kruger, Mary Hamman, Astrid Schween and Julia Lichten.

Additional Information

Composition Date 1990
Orchestration 2Vln. 2Vla. 2Vcl.
Premiere 7th May 1990. Eva Gruesser, Genovia Cummins, Anna Kruger, Mary Hamman, Astrid Schween, Julia Lichten